“AMLO reacted like a scolded child,” say associations in Europe

The activists assure that using terms such as “pamphlet,” “colony,” “conquest,” “sheep,” and “coup plot” does not contribute to the collective and international effort to solve the murders of journalists.

(BRUSSELS – El Universal) The Mexican presidency’s reaction to the European Parliament’s resolution condemning violence against journalists and human rights defenders is regrettable and contrary to the protocols of diplomacy, says Jimena Reyes, director for the Americas of the International Federation for Human Rights.

 The activist responsible for placing Mexican and Latin American issues on the European Union’s agenda in Brussels assures that using terms such as “pamphlet,” “colony,” “conquest,” “sheep,” and “coup plot” does not contribute to the collective and international effort to solve the underlying problem, the murders of journalists and human rights defenders in a context of impunity and corruption. 

“Telling the President to please change his attitude is something strong, but we consider it important to say it” since it is worrying that the attacks and disqualifications come from the presidential chair. 

In an interview, she affirms that the resolution adopted on Thursday in the hemicycle of the European Parliament with 607 votes in favor, two against and 73 abstentions, was no harsher than others adopted in the past, such as that of October 23, 2014, on the disappearance of the 43 students of Ayotzinapa. 

It was attached to the usual dialogue between countries and as part of the rules of multilateralism established in the United Nations and the Political Association treaty itself between Mexico and the European Union, in force for two decades, which has opened this type of space for mutually accepted dialogues. 

“What is surprising is the reaction. It seems to me that it has an inopportune tone. It is not the usual one of dialogue between regions countries. Using words like hypocrisy, colonialism, or pamphlet is not appropriate. What would have been expected is for them to say that the Mexican government is concerned about the situation of the murders, highlighting the things they are doing. Very surprising, out of the classic international protocol in relations between countries”. 

Reyes maintains that the government’s interpretation has been the wrong one. Nevertheless, she assures that the resolution is saying that there are problems of corruption at the local level, that there are murders of journalists and defenders in a context of organized crime, endemic and very worrying. We must be careful because not only are they being murdered, their discourse is stigmatizing them instead of supporting them and recognizing their legitimate work. “The Mexican government cannot say this is not a reality… It is the tone of a child who does not like to be scolded.”  

For the human rights defender, the President’s response to the text promoted by the main political forces, the European People’s Party, Greens, Socialists, Renew and the Conservatives and Reformists Group, only confirms what the document says: the use of disqualifications to stigmatize those who criticize the government. 

“This stigmatizing attitude towards civil society or journalism is worrisome. At FIDH, we recognize that the problem is overwhelming and that we are in the situation where there is a country that has entire structures of public force captured by organized crime. Instead of focusing on that, to answer like that, as if he is upset because he is criticized, is a shame.” 

For his part, the Secretary-General of the International Federation of Journalism (IFJ), Anthony Bellanger, welcomed the MEPs’ condemnation of the threats, harassment, and murder of journalists and human rights defenders in Mexico and called on the authorities to investigate the crimes. 

It also welcomed the pronouncement on the harsh and systematic criticisms made by the highest authorities of the Mexican government against journalists and their work. 

The IFJ welcomes the resolution and the recognition that journalists in Mexico live their lives under a daily threat of death, kidnapping, and violence, caught between the brutality of the drug cartels and the stigmatization of the authorities, including the central government,” he tells EL UNIVERSAL. 

For the French journalist, this situation has resulted in self-censorship and forced journalists to leave their homes in the face of impunity. He notes that there is more support for those who want to silence journalists.  

However, the relevance of having introduced the issue on the agenda of the European Parliament, as one of the most urgent issues of the moment in terms of human rights violations at a global level, falls short. 

“The resolution is welcome, but much more needs to be done to put pressure on the Mexican authorities to adequately fund the national security mechanism, to stop attacks on journalists and to bring to justice those who kill and threaten journalists and the media,” it states. 

The resolution highlights that “Mexico has long been the most dangerous and deadliest place for journalists outside of an official war zone,” and 2022 marks the beginning of the bloodiest year for the press. 

It also highlights that the situation has deteriorated since the last presidential election in July 2018: according to official sources, at least 47 journalists have been killed since then.  

The text explicitly says that Mexico’s President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, often uses “mornings” to denigrate and intimidate journalists. The MEPs claim that this “abusive” and “populist” rhetoric generates an atmosphere of unrelenting agitation against independent media.

The Yucatan Times
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